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Exercise and Fundraising Go Hand-in-Hand at Lincoln-Erdman

For two years Lincoln-Erdman Elementary School staff, families and supporters have been working to construct the Lincoln-Erdman Environmental and Fitness Trail (LEEF Trail), designed by a group of staff members and the school's PTO president.

The LEEF trail is designed for students and the community. It was officially launched earlier this month with an all-school Kick-off, complete with an incentive program: Walk Northeast Wisconsin.

The Walk Northeast Wisconsin program encourages students to walk the half-mile-plus trail at least once a week with the mission to "walk" to various cities in Northeast Wisconsin.

The walks will take place in a supervised environment during recess. Teachers will keep track of their mileage. Incentives will be offered for various mileage increments based on how "far" they walk � Plymouth (15 miles), Two Rivers (30 miles), Kewaunee (45 miles), Green Bay (60 miles), Sturgeon Bay (75 miles) and Gills Rock (90 miles).

To help continue with the construction project, the school is selling bricks, which will be used to build the walking path entrance. Bricks can be purchased for $100 and will display names and messages selected by the donor. To purchase a brick contact the school at 920-459-3595.

The LEEF Trail project vision is to develop an environmental retreat on the school's 1.5 acres of undeveloped land where students, teachers, and community members can learn about Wisconsin's natural environment, explore the grounds, walk the fitness trail and exercise. The hope is for students to develop a knowledge base they can take into their adulthood and become protectors of the environment while using the environment to increase their physical well-being.

Educational efforts are being coordinated with Maywood-Ellwood H. May City Park and their environmentalist who provides education to the community about environmental studies. The school committee had worked 18 months prior to this implementation of the LEEF Trail project studying the use of our underdeveloped green space to address student needs.

Students learn more proficiently and have more fun learning from hands on experiences outside the four walls of a classroom. Curriculum is being developed to teach students about the natural plant growth of Wisconsin including five study nodes - the wetlands, the hard wood forests, the prairie grassland, the northern pine, and fruit and nut trees.

The second purpose of the LEEF Trail is to improve students' physical well-being. This will be accomplished by providing an area to exercise, programming to increase students' knowledge of proper nutrition, developing additional study units on the improvement of students' physical well being, and providing parents with additional educational materials to reinforce what the children learn in the classroom.

For this portion of the project, Lincoln-Erdman School is partnering with Aurora Health Care, a not-for-profit integrated health care system. Through the use of the two fitness stations, each including five pieces of exercise equipment, the LEEF Trail will not only provide a wonderful after school fitness opportunity too often missing for today's children, but will also enhance the student's physical fitness opportunities during school hours.

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The entire student body at Lincoln-Erdman Elementary School took part in the kickoff of the school's fitness and environmental trail (LEEF Trail). The all-school walk was part of the school's Panther Pals character education session and also marked the launch of the school's exercise incentive program which encourages students to "walk" their way to various cities in Northeast Wisconsin by walking the LEEF Trail during recess and logging their miles.

Sheboygan Area School District Press Release
November 16, 2008